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Mary, Recitation
Alana Ronél Blignaut
Artwork 2019
Alana Ronél Blignaut's video work 'Mary, Recitation' depicts an digitally averaged face. At the top, white overlay text reads "~~A3399-B2-4~~" and "Average faces of 'known and suspected activists' produced from the albums of the apartheid-era security branch". At the bottom, white overlay text reads "'White Male'."
Artwork: Alana Ronél Blignaut, Mary, Recitation (2019). Single-channel video. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
Artist Alana Ronél Blignaut Title Mary, Recitation Date 2019 Materials Single-channel video Dimensions Dimensions variable Credit Courtesy of the artist

Extending the genre of photographic portraiture to forensic imaging, Alana Ronél Blignaut's Mary, Recitation uses facial averaging techniques towards poetic ends. The digital video piece – an earlier version of which was shown at A4 as Desire for the Public (2018) – features the faces of South Africans deemed "known or suspected activists" by the apartheid-era Security Branch. As a restorative gesture, Blignaut's work, she writes, "embodies a desire to make archival facial imagery relating to traumatic historical events open to public consideration without revealing personal information of those imaged; and the interface as a historiographic intervention into the archive."

b.1992, Calvinia; works in Cape Town.